Ben & Jordan relocated to London and Paris towards the end of 2015, to work on music for their next record
They’ve recently returned to Sydney, where they will be recording music they’ve been writing and developing on their travels through out London, Paris and Brooklyn…
We hope to be posting a stream for GF in the not too distant future ..
Georgia Fair’s acclaimed debut album All Through Winter was produced by Bill Reynolds (Band Of Horses) in North Carolina, and to record their second album Trapped Flame they headed to East West Studios in Los Angeles to work with Ted Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dropkick Murphys). They had considered several producers, but as lead singer Jordan Wilson explains, “It was clear that we felt drawn back to America to continue exploring this vast musical landscape where many of our heroes have emerged.”
Georgia Fair came to life in high school. Jordan remembers a bright faced kid coming up to him after drama class in grade 8. Ben Riley, wearing a big smile on his face, seemed set on the fact that they would become friends. As Jordan explains, “he’d got word that I played guitar and was talking up the Nirvana record.”
It wasn’t long before they were jamming every weekend in the basement of Ben’s home, playing every song that they loved, listening intently to their favourite artists, and spinning yarns about how they would escape it all one day. “When we finished school it became clear that we didn’t want to do anything else but play and write music. We were recording demos in a mate’s attic and trying to get gigs wherever we could in Sydney,” explains Jordan. “Finally we actually mustered the courage to share our music with the outside world – a phobia that taunted us all throughout high school.”
Recording their debut album All Through Winter with Bill Reynolds, producer and bass player for Band of Horses, was the fast track to cutting their teeth in the studio. They couldn’t have asked for a better way to learn the ins and outs of making truthful music that they felt so passionate about, than from a man who had seen it all and was gracious enough to share his wisdom. As Bill once quoted in regards to Georgia Fair, “It’s once in a blue moon that I come across a group with such great harmonies and great songs. I knew I had to find a way to work with them.”
The shape of their new album Trapped Flame began to form when they visited Mangrove Mountain in NSW to finish off some demo’s in mid-2012, a couple of months before heading over to LA. “It was a very productive and poignant time; we ended up leaving with some tracks that made the final record; ‘Fiery Night’, ‘Someday Soon’ and ‘Plain Girls,” explains Jordan.
They also came away with a very clear vision of how they wanted the record to come together sonically. As Ben clarifies, “We wanted it to be more bare bones, minimal instrumentation but whatever is laid down takes a position; it has to be there for a reason.”
On arrival in LA later in 2012, they drove around for the first couple of days with Ted Hutt, getting used to a place they weren’t familiar with and getting to know their new producer. Ted had a Tom Waits box set in the car, which became the soundtrack as they drove around and dropped into some of Ted’s regular haunts for food or coffee, all the while talking philosophy and favourite records. “Ted immediately felt right; he was very open, he let us in and we reciprocated. This opened up all possibilities and ended up being a key component in successfully capturing the sound and feel of this record,” recalls Ben.
Pre-production was brief but intense. At first it was just the three of them, playing through the song’s and discussing ideas –Ted was all about finding “the corners” of the record, and which songs fit where. They then brought in Steve Sidelnyk on drums (PJ Harvey) and Jonny Flaugher on bass (Ryan Adams). “They’d never met before but gelled instantly, establishing another key component of the record – Steve and Johnny became our engine room,” Jordan explains.
The recording took place at East West Studio on Sunset Boulevard; laying down the drums, bass, piano and guitars, jamming live in studio B. “It was the very same studio where the ‘Pet Sounds’ album was born!” enthuses Ben. Once most of the tracking was laid down at East West, they set up at Kingsize Soundlabs in Echo Park where they began laying down vocals, overdubs and finally mixing the record.
One of the main reasons they were drawn to work with Ted Hutt was his ability to capture the vocal; “We loved the way he’d mixed the Old Crow Medicine Show record and where he’d placed everything in the mix; nothing was fighting for its place,” explains Ben. “The thing we particularly like about some of our favourite records is the way they evoke a vision of the artist in the studio laying it down”. They wanted to capture a great performance – it had to feel real and of the moment.
The guitar treatment on the album was always going to be very important; Ted is definitely all about the song, but he also has a love of the guitar being a great guitarist himself. Ben immersed himself in a ton of gear – pedals, tape delays, reverb tanks and amps (including the Gemini from the Elliott Smith sessions which Ben ended up using almost exclusively), while Jordon played a beautiful Fender Princeton (a bit of a Neil Young special).
”On our spare days we would head to San Francisco hopping between the speakeasies of union square, driving down Highway 1 to Big Sur and checking out the Henry Miller Memorial Library… but catching Dylan at the Hollywood Bowl on my birthday was truly one of the most inspiring things we have ever experienced,” recalls Ben.
As Jordan adds, “But the day-to-day drives around town with Ted listening to Tom Waits and exchanging stories, really set the tone and backdrop to this record and made it possible for us to fully realise our vision when we arrived in LA to record Trapped Flame.”
Georgia Fair is Jordan Wilson, vocals and acoustic guitar, and Ben Riley, guitars and harmony vocals; they are Sydney born and raised and are now based in Melbourne. They released Trapped Flame in October and have moved to London & Paris where they are working on their next album